Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Bottas fastest on second morning of in-season testing

Bottas fastest on second morning of in-season testing

The T-wing fell off Valtteri Bottas's Mercedes in Friday's second practice and caused damage to the floor of Max Verstappen's auto when the Dutchman hit it with his Red Bull. The problem was quickly resolved once the vehicle was returned to the pits and Bottas continued to rack up the laps throughout the afternoon, with a best time of 1:31.280.

World championship leader Sebastian Vettel will return to normal testing duties for Ferrari on Wednesday, having spent Tuesday working on Pirelli's 2018 evaluation project.

Carlos Sainz was third during an afternoon of running for Toro Rosso, but it was Stoffel Vandoorne in fourth place who is likely to be the happiest of all 12 drivers to run on Wednesday. That led to an extended period of downtime before systems checks were carried out and the auto was able to reappear in the early afternoon to continue the team's testing programme. Having failed to start the Bahrain Grand Prix due to an MGU-H problem and following further reliability issues for Honda on Tuesday, Vandoorne was able to complete 81 laps and post a 1:32.108 late in the day, leaving him within a second of Bottas.

Esteban Ocon was second fastest in the Force India, with a best time 0.371s off Bottas before handing over to teammate Sergio Perez in the afternoon. In practice, that is likely to mean the reluctant imposition of more of the so-called "team orders" used in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix. Perez propped up the timesheets in P12, 3.7 seconds off Bottas' fastest time. The 36-year-old DTM driver technically qualifies as a young driver under F1's regulations as he has never taken part in a grand prix.

Renault reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin took to the wheel of the RS17 for 44 laps in the morning session and set a time 2.403s off the pace of Bottas.

Ferrari's challenge is slightly different from Mercedes, in that Vettel's team is on top of its race performance but has proved lacking on single-lap pace.

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